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ONE IN 10 SCOTS ON HAPPY PILLS; Prescriptions leap by 200% in 15 years.

Byline: By Scott McNabb

NEARLY one in 10 Scots are on antidepressants, the NHS revealed yesterday.

The country's annual bill for the drugs was more than pounds 40million last year, despite a fall in costs.

The number of anti-depressants prescribed has more than tripled in the last 15 years, prompting claims Scotland is becoming a "Prozac nation".

NHS Scotland statistics revealed prescriptions had grown from 1.16 million items to 3.83million between 1992/93 and 2007/08.

An estimated 9.3 per cent of Scots over the age of 15 use an anti-depressant every day.

Lib Dem public health spokesman Jamie Stone said these high numbers were "cause for serious concern".

He said: "The health secretary must ensure that anti-depressants are not allowed to become a quick fix for depression.

"I hope that these figures prompt health professionals to look at viable alternatives to anti-depressants.

"We should be trying to help people through the rough periods in their lives without relying on tablets.

"We must not allow Scotland to turn into a Prozac nation."

The cost of anti-depressant medicines in 2007/08 was pounds 40.4million, down from pounds 43.7million in the previous financial year.

But that decrease has been attributed to a number of drugs coming down in price.

The prescribing of most classes of anti-depressants increased, although the older generation "monoamine oxidase inhibitors" went down.

Newer "selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors" - including Prozac - rose by 5.6 per cent in the last year.

And 12.3 per cent more attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs were doled out.

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 17, 2008
Words:268
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